December 20, 2011

Massaged Kale Salad

The first time I ever heard of massaged kale salad, my initial reaction was what the hell kind of hippy salad is that? (I'm allowed to say things like that because I grew up pretty much as 'hippy' as it gets and I'm all about (affectionate) self-deprecation, like this Portlandia clip which is basically a spot-on parody of my personal approach to meat-eating).

But I gave the salad a try, because I like to play with my food and massaging kale sounded fun. This recipe has since become a standard favourite. Massaging the kale with lemon juice, olive oil and salt helps break down the cell walls of the kale leaves and makes it easier to digest. I'm sharing it with you today because (aside from being DEE-licious!) it's a very festive recipe that looks great on the holiday dinner table. Plus at this time of year when there's such mountains of rich foods all around, it's nice to get some raw, fresh goodness on the table and this salad is packed with antioxidants! I was also suspecting some of you out there still have kale in your gardens because I sure do...

I took this photo 2 days ago, when it felt like -20 celsius. How cool to be able to harvest your food in the middle of December! (eh?!) I try to eat as local as I can year-round but sadly kale is the only local ingredient in this recipe. The thing is, if I had to name 3 non-local things that I can't resist, it would be the 3 other ingredients in this salad: avocado, pomegranate, and fennel. Actually, I guess fennel can be local but hard to find the local stuff this time of year. So here you go... a local / un-local salad. (No time to make a video today but I've got a Christmassy ones coming your way so stay tuned!)

Massaged Kale Salad with avocado, fennel, and pomegranate
1 bunch of kale
1 pomegranate
1 fennel bulb
1 avocado

For the massage oil: 
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt

Rip the kale leaves into pieces, discarding the stems. Mix the juice of one lemon, olive oil and salt together and pour half of it on the kale. Now get intimate with that kale! Rub the massage oil into the leaves for about 10 minutes, until the kale is a deeper green and shrinks down in size somewhat. You can also taste it to see how chewable / flavourful it is. Thinly shave the fennel, chop avocado into cubes, and de-seed the pomegranate. Pour on the remainder of the dressing. Mix together & there you have it. 


  1. o my goodness that looks so great Aube! So festive! And those are 3 of my favorite ingredients - but never knew what to do with Kale. Great Idea. (oh and very funny video :))

  2. I love kale, and I like it massaged with the avocado, a bit of lemon, and salt. Your recipe is very festive! A must try. :)

  3. made it - twice - loved it! huge hit! I'm making it again this afternoon for a dinner party this evening. Thanks again Aube!

  4. It's funny. I grew up seriously hippie. I mean, my parents were van-driving long-hairs who embarrassed me when they picked me up from school wearing earth shoes, dashikis, head bands and striped bell bottom pants. All of which I wear today. lol. We do become our parents! We were like the folks on the show 'The Good Life'. We turned our enormous (urban -- Milwaukee) back yard into a huge garden. I mean, we had CROPS. Okra, corn, a million different kinds of pepper and tomato. You name it, we grew it and we ate it. My parents had serious green thumbs. Nothing ever went bad, and my mom canned all year round. God, I hated my childhood! Just kidding. As long as we were insular, I loved it, but anytime anyone from the 'outside' came in, I realized how weird we were. Anyway, yeah, the kale thing. You can get the same effect by just tossing the salad in the vin and letting it marinate, tossing it every now and again. Save your hippie strength for something else like doling out peace signs. :)

    I love your blog Aube! I miss the good old days: while our carnivorous neighbs were killing themselves with lacquered meat on the grill, we were making fresh succotash with home grown lima beans, peppers and corn, and shaving 5 different kinds of radish in our kale salads!


  5. Thanks for sharing the useful info here. Keep up the good work.